House GOP Seeking Investigations Into Oregon, Maryland Exchanges
House Republicans are seeking investigations into two state-run health insurance exchange websites that have been facing a series of problems and have caused challenges for residents seeking to enroll in new health plans, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.
House Panel Leaders Want Details of Oregon's Use of Federal Funds
In a letter sent Wednesday to the Government Accountability Office, four GOP leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee urged the agency to review the $304 million in federal grants that Oregon exchange had received to build its problematic website. The letter stated, "The catastrophic breakdown of Cover Oregon is unacceptable, and taxpayers deserve accountability."
According to "Healthwatch," the lawmakers are "laying the groundwork" to recoup portions of the federal funds if the state decides to scrap the state-run exchange in favor of the federally-run HealthCare.gov. The portal has yet to enroll a single person, and state officials have been depending on paper applications to enroll residents.
In response to the letter, Gov. John Kitzhaber's (D) office acknowledged that the consumer enrollment function is not working, but the site still is able to determine residents' subsidy eligibility and allow applicants to access accounts and financial assistance.
Lawmakers Request Investigation of Maryland Exchange
Separately, Reps. Andy Harris (R-Md.) and Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) on Wednesday sent a letter to HHS Inspector General Daniel Levinson requesting a probe into Maryland's problem-plagued insurance exchange, "Healthwatch" reports.
Harris and Kingston noted in the letter that Maryland officials ignored auditors' warnings that the exchange site contained critical issues and would not be ready to launch. They also requested that Levinson review whether federal funds for the project can be recouped.
A spokesperson for Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) did not return a request for comment, according to "Healthwatch" (Easley, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 2/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.